women entrepreneurs
Business UAE

Women entrepreneurs in the UAE continue to receive support as the startup ecosystem grows rapidly in the region

The startup growth phase in the region is happening now as women continue to receive support for being an entrepreneur and a working mother, says Joy Kanaan, chief executive officer of Yawmi.

The brand Yawmi – which means ‘daily’ in Arabic – was launched in January 2018 after eight months of full-time focus and preparation. It came from the need of having access to homemade Levantine plat du jour meals ordered on demand, delivered fast and made with the freshest ingredients every day. The brand offers customers, especially parents, multiple options and devised 10 daily special home made meals with tailored recipes and packages.

“Our menu has also evolved to include fresh and colourful salad options, as well as kids meal boxes. I spearhead all the menu design and creation for Yawmi and this will continue to be the case, along with also major contributions from our new chief chef Jean, as Yawmi is so much more than just a startup to me. It’s the homemade food for me, my husband and my children and all my customers,” says Joy, a Lebanese and a mother of two sons.

“It has been an incredible and fulfilling journey so far, marked by exponential growth, superb customer retention and an established brand with strong identity and relevance in the industry. We now deliver across Dubai through our several kitchens, branched out to Abu Dhabi in January this year and will be launching in London and Kuwait in the next months. Going forward, we will focus on expanding Yawmi to more markets as well as developing multiple brands under the same values of homemade style food, delivered fast,” she added.

Shane Shin and Mahmoud Adi, founding partners of Shorooq Investments, have invested in Yawmi and Joy feels that this is another strong indication that entrepreneurs are starting to receive the right support and guidance from the ecosystem.

“However, working in a high-paced industry made it quite challenging to always find the time. After working for so long on developing existing brands, I finally took an extra step forward to launch my own brand too; so, coming up with Yawmi was simply the perfect solution – for my career and my need,” added Joy.

So how does Joy balance work and home? “Now – and I can’t say I’ve mastered it yet – I try to stay away from my phone [e-mails, social media, etc] when I’m with my kids so that I can be fully present with them during that time as being active with them is very important for me. I love cooking with them and going on walks together – being present with them as much as I can makes me feel less guilty whenever I have to be away for work reasons.”

On the work front, Joy says the growth has been so strong so she started to build a team and is always looking for dedicated and passionate people who share similar values with her.

Advise to peers

“Try to always focus on how lucky you are wherever and whenever – being grateful and positive helps devising solutions to the toughest problems and future plans. This also helps oneself to be humble and not take everything as granted.”

Dos and Don’ts

. Bring out your passion and commitment to your startup

. As a founder, if you don’t show your passion to your own startup, no one can and no one will

. Be fully transparent; don’t shy away from showing the weak links as often times investors will plug them for you

. No one is perfect and even you or me or the investor him/herself

Set high aspirations for your business. Let’s not stop dreamin


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